A STUDENT has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by a charity which has selected her to travel to Africa.

Varndean College student Hannah Fox was given the opportunity by Journey of a lifetime Trust (JOLT) which helps make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of young people aged 14 to 21 who have faced significant disadvantages in their lives.

The courageous Hannah Fox told us her story: IN 2009 I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension that affects 1 in 100,000 people and I required frequent admission to hospitals and an extensive treatment plan.

This included 38 lumbar punctures, five shunt surgeries, ICP monitoring and 60 tablets a day for a year.

But despite this, and having certain caring responsibilities within my family, I continued with my studies for my GCSEs at home and sat some of them whilst an inpatient in hospital.

This enabled me to progress to study A-levels at Varndean College which I hope will lead to me going to university in September to pursue my goal of becoming a speech and language therapist.

In my first year at college, I lost someone very dear to me, which has changed my outlook on life and it made me realise how important it is to pursue every opportunity life has to offer you and that despite hardship you can achieve the unachievable.

A few months ago, I was nominated by an additional support teacher from my college to be put forward for this Journey of a Lifetime to Africa.

I was – and still am – absolutely amazed to receive the news that I had made it down to the final 24 candidates and felt honoured to be chosen to go on this incredible journey.

The journey will consist of four weeks travelling through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zambia.

I’m sure it will be challenging yet rewarding and I look forward to experiencing different cultures and witnessing wildlife in their natural habitat, learning valuable life skills which I can apply to my own life as well as making long lasting friendships with others who have had similar life experiences.

Prior to the journey, each young person has to raise at least £650 for the Journey of a Lifetime Trust.

I’ve now managed to raise a total of £715, so I will definitely be going to Africa and want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point. Along the way, I did a sponsored walk from Rottingdean Beach to Carats Cafe in Portslade dressed in a safari animal onesie.

I also held a cake sale and organised an Easter egg raffle at college which was supported by a huge number of friends, students and staff there.

The Argus will be catching up with Hannah when she returns to Sussex on August 10.